Sometimes the best relationship help and marriage advice comes from couples just like you…
Meet Maya and Robert
Maya and Robert describe themselves as an odd couple. “We love each other, but we’re like night and day. From day one it was obvious to everyone that Robert and I didn’t have much in common. But we couldn’t help falling in love…”
Maya explained that she loves movies, reading, and spending time with friends, while Robert prefers to throw himself into home renovation projects (their hundred-year-old home keeps him busy). He also has less of a desire to socialize with friends than his wife does.
Living together for six years, both acknowledged that their inherent differences started to become a problem. They both recognized that they were starting to live separate lives that rarely intersected. “At one point I felt like I was living with a housemate instead of a soulmate,” Maya said.
So about three years ago Maya called “an emergency relationship meeting…Robert thought I was joking at first but then he realized how serious I really was.” At this meeting they acknowledged the painful truth that something was wrong and they each committed to the following relationship vision (which they wrote out and kept close at hand whenever they started to stray from their vision).
They feel that this simple vision and commitment saved their relationship. They’d like to share it with you:
- They committed to doing something together that they mutually enjoy once each week. Since they both like the outdoors, they often go for a hike or walk their dogs together. They stress that it’s important to treat this as a commitment, not as something optional.
“Even during those busy weeks, when we’re scrambling to get everything done, we have tried to stay on track with doing things together,” Maya reports. “It’s made a huge difference.”
- On rotating months, each has to try something that the other enjoys with the goal of appreciating and learning about their partner’s interests (the goal here is to develop a greater appreciation for what they are each passionate about).
For instance, Robert loves to cook (a passion Maya has not shared). When it’s Robert’s month to “shine,” he chooses some challenging meals for both of them to plan, shop for, create and enjoy…together. Maya has reported becoming more interested in cooking since they’ve begun this, and she also states that she’s impressed to discover how much Robert knows in this area.
Robert said that the plan has worked well for them. Both are able to maintain their separate interests and independence (which they value) while nurturing the couplehood that is also so important to them.
Thanks to Maya and Robert for sharing what has helped to strengthen their relationship!
1. The following relationship resource is for anyone who has recently started a committed relationship (whether you’re planning to or recently married, living together, or you’ve made a commitment to that one special person):
I’m excited to share Lisa Brookes Kift’s Premarital Counseling Workbook for Couples with you.
Research shows that couples who participate in some form of premarital counseling or preparation are more likely to have successful relationships!
2. To receive my free relationship help tips each month, don’t forget to sign up for my free Relationship Advice Newsletter!
Wishing your relationship all the best,
Dr. Rich Nicastro